by Ariel Marantz and Rebecca Silver Summer is vacation time! Here are some tips to think about when planning your next vacation. Traveling: Are there ways that you can travel without flying? Try to use public transportation, including buses or trains, as much as possible. If you must fly, travel non-stop, choose coach seating, and pack lightly. Click here to find out why, and explore green airports and airlines. Bring your own plane snacks in reusable containers to avoid the plastic-wrapped meals! Pack reusable water bottles, reusable coffee cups, containers, and silverware with you before you go. Secure any travel liquids in silicone reusable bags instead of plastic – you can find them here or by going on stasher’s website. Say Tefilat Haderech (traveler’s prayer), have fun, and appreciate the nature around you! Hotels: If staying in a hotel, bring your own shampoo, conditioner, and soap bars to avoid using the provided plastic containers Be sure to not throw your towels on the floor unless they truly need washing Request that your bed sheets not be washed each night (washing unnatural materials causes microplastic sheds!) Be mindful of turning off lights when leaving the room, and try to use the […]
By Ariel Marantz, Associate, Hazon Seal of Sustainability We are in an era of “fast fashion”, defined as “inexpensive clothing produced rapidly by mass-market retailers in response to the latest trends” (Waste Advantage Magazine). What effect does buying and quickly discarding apparel have on our Earth? Hold onto your socks…. According to Forbes’ Making Climate Change Fashionable – The Garment Industry Takes on Global Warming, the clothing industry follows oil as the second largest industrial polluter, and is the second largest polluter of freshwater resources on Earth. It makes up 10% of ALL carbon emissions! What can we do to help? Here are some tips: Go through your entire closet to see what you already own. If you need something else, borrow from a friend or swap your clothing with theirs. When you want to buy, buy from a thrift store. And if you choose to buy elsewhere, only opt for natural materials. Why? According to Forbes, synthetic fibers emit potent gases that contribute to climate change such as N20, which is 300X worse for the Earth than CO2 is. Plus, the production of these synthetic fibers results in over 70 million trees cut down annually. Cotton (when not organic) […]
Dear Hazon Seal Sites, A new UN report came out this week that had some seriously grim content. One million species now face extinction, and all of this will harm human health. One of the biggest ways that we can make help fight Climate Change is by individually doing our parts and leading by example. Diverting food waste and working with our institutions to do the same is one way that we can help propel change. Below is a collection of recent resources to inspire you on your journey. All of these are also available and searchable on our Hazon Seal Resource Bank. We welcome your feedback and suggestions for resources to share with the network in the future. Wishing you a peaceful Shabbat, Merav and Ariel Announcing the next webinar: FOOD WASTE! Mark your calendars! The next webinar for participating Hazon Seal sites will take place on Wednesday, June 5th from 1-2:30pm EST and be all about food waste. The webinar will be led by Gary Oppenheimer, founder of AmpleHarvest.org and creator of Food Waste Weekend. Both resources are so valuable and helpful – we encourage you to check them out and see how you can make use of […]
For immediate release Hazon, the leading American Jewish environmental organization, this week issued a strong response to a new Israeli organization, also called “hazon”, that has published a series of inflammatory billboards attacking gay, lesbian and transgender Israelis, and then also attacked Women of the Wall. Hazon, based in New York, and with staff in five locations in the US, as well as two staffers in Israel, has worked for nearly twenty years to strengthen Jewish life and to work for a more sustainable world for all. Hazon has a legal trademark for the name “Hazon,” and its Israeli lawyers issued a cease-and-desist letter to the new Israeli “hazon” earlier this week, demanding that the Israeli group immediately cease using the name “Hazon.” Hazon’s CEO, Nigel Savage, said “Hazon works to create a healthier and more sustainable Jewish community, and a more sustainable world. We’re proud of our work and of our good name. It is frankly distressing to see our name being attached to billboards and pronouncements that so radically stand against all that we have done, and all that we have tried to do, since our founding in 2000.” Aharon Ariel Lavi, Hazon’s senior staffer in Israel and […]
In the last twenty years, more than 100,000 Jewish children, teachers and young adults have participated in the transformative experience of Teva: immersing themselves in the rhythms of the natural world, learning about the Jewish values of stewardship, and developing a deep commitment to tikkun olam. Kedusha-Lives of Sacred Purpose The program integrates the study of ecology and environmental education with Jewish concepts and values through hands-on activities in a cooperative outdoor setting. By using the forest as their classroom, Teva students also develop a greater sense of responsibility, independence, and self-esteem. They leave the program having forged intimate connections with each other and the natural world and with a deeper knowledge of how Judaism can inform our interactions with the rest of creation. Chochma-Wisdom Teva’s curriculum follows a three-part thematic progression of “Awareness,” then “Ecology,” then “Responsibility.” At each step, environmental teaching is specifically tied to Jewish teaching. As part of the Responsibility curriculum, Teva students focus on ways that they, individually and as a class, can make better choices that contribute to creating a sustainable world. All students participate in designing a project to implement throughout the school year. The projects not only help to reduce waste and empower […]
I’m in Israel with our largest ever Israel Ride – 219 participants, plus more than 60 crew and staff members. Six of our riders live in Pittsburgh, two are members of the shul that was attacked, and many more grew up in Pittsburgh or have spent much of their lives there. One person lost one of his closest friends. Two of our riders were married by someone who was shot and had an operation yesterday and is in hospital right now. So – we are a long way away, and it feels very very close. I and all of us send love and condolences to everyone in Pittsburgh and to everyone who is mourning. And, in a different sense, to everyone in the Jewish community and everyone in America who is appalled and shocked that we have reached this point. This morning we stood together overlooking Machtesh Ramon and we sang Eitz Chayim Hi – the words that we read before returning the Torah to the ark on Shabbat morning, the tune that is so beautiful and well-loved. Shuls will be packed next Shabbat morning, across America – shuls should be packed, next Shabbat morning, across America – and I suspect the most intense moment will be […]
For reasons outside of our control, some of our emails are now being blocked by spam filters. This includes not just emails from Hazon overall, but also from individual staffers. We cannot, on our side, remove our emails from your spam. There are however a few easy steps that you can do to help. If you’ve been in touch with a specific person at Hazon who you haven’t heard replies from in a while: We apologize – it wasn’t our fault! Please check your spam filter – an email from them may be there; Please call that person to check in on the status of your conversation. How to check your spam filter – and remove us from it…. If you use a public email service such as Gmail or Yahoo: Check your spam or junk folder for any messages from Hazon that may have mistakenly ended up there. If you find anything, mark it as not spam (see below for details). Once you’ve done this a number of times, your email provider will learn to resume delivering Hazon emails to your regular inbox. If you use an organizational or company email service: Ideally, please ask your IT staff to […]
by Amanda Gluckich – Milk and Honey Farm – Boulder, CO In this week’s Torah portion, Parshat Ha’Azinu, we learn that the people of Israel, who have been wandering the desert for forty years after leaving Egypt, are about to enter the Holy Land that has been promised to them by God. Moses, who is not allowed to continue into the Holy Land due to previous transgressions, is preparing to sing a song to the people of Israel. The Torah portion, or parsha, is virtually entirely made up of song verses. Moses’s song speaks of the intergenerational tragedies and triumphs of the people of Israel, and even articulates the future to some degree. Moses sings of the people of Israel’s many struggles to accept one God, and of all of the things that God has done for them throughout the generations. Moses’s song brings everyone together and up to speed to explain why they are currently in the place they are in: about to be metaphorically born into the Land of Israel, promised to them by God. Moses begins: “Listen, O heavens, and I will speak! And let the earth hear the words of my mouth!” (Deut. 32:1). When reading […]
by Ryan Kaplan, Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta Parshat Chukat “Moses made a copper serpent and mounted it on a standard; and when anyone was bitten by a serpent, they would look at the copper serpent and recover.” Numbers 21:9 As I write this post, I sit in my office in Atlanta with the threat of rain clouds to my left and blueberry waffles, coffee, and a coworker’s copy of the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) to my right. Georgia’s summer has been very wet thus far, and the promise of the coming downpour outside my window sets a looming melancholic tone for this week’s cinematic Torah portion: Chukat (Numbers 19:1-22:1). Much happens in the chapters of Chukat. In the interest of brevity: The wandering Israelites are taught in “the ways of the red heifer” (that is to say, they’re told how to purify themselves after coming into contact with a human corpse); Miriam dies and water becomes scarce; Moses and Aaron fall out of G-d’s good graces after striking a rock in search of water instead of speaking to it; Aaron follows Miriam in death and a 30 day period of mourning begins (up from the normal 7 days of Shiva); […]
by Emily Blustein – Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta – Atlanta, GA Rest for the land, rest for the people, all will be provided. This week we are reading Behar which tells us about shmitah and jubilee. Shmitah is during every seventh year, you shall not work the land, and Jubilee which is the 49th year where shmitah is practiced along with setting all slaves free and all land goes back to its original owners. G-d reassures the people that they have nothing to worry about during shmitah as the 6th year of growing will produce more than enough until the 8th years yield is ready. That’s putting a lot of faith in powers other than your own hard work. What did the farmers do during the 7th year? Did they enjoy or lament it? As I have been dabbling in farming, the thought of not being able to grow food for myself and others for a whole year is a bit unsettling. Truly, if everyone practiced this, what would be there to eat? Or were we all on different shmitah schedules? Maybe my neighbor is only in their 5th year when I’m in my 7th and we alternate sharing… […]
by Becky Adelberg, JCC Chicago Parashat Re’eh Editor’s Note: Welcome to D’varim HaMakom: The JOFEE Fellows Blog! This is our inaugural post. Most weeks throughout the year, you’ll be hearing from the JOFEE Fellows: reflections on their experiences, successful programs they’ve planned and implemented, gleanings from the field, and connections to the weekly Torah portion and what they’ve learned from their experiences with place in their host communities for the year. Be sure to check back weekly! PS Interested in being or hosting a JOFEE Fellow? Applications for cohort two are now open for both prospective fellows and prospective host institutions! And now, on to Becky’s post … I’m thrilled for this opportunity to write about one of my favorite events of the year: Shabbat on the Lake. To me, Shabbat on the Lake is more than an event. It is a mindset, a movement, a gathering of all corners of the Jewish community; it’s a tapestry of various affiliations, ways of engaging with Judaism and the possibility of a Jewish community who focuses on things that unite us as opposed to what divides us. Shabbat on the Lake’s inception at JCC Chicago arose six years ago to show young Jewish adults various […]
The New Paradigm Spiritual Communities Initiative (NPSCI) is designed to support the development of spiritual communities that use the wisdom and practice of Judaism (chochma), to help people live lives of sacred purpose (kedusha) and inspire people to contribute to a more just and peaceful world (tzedek). The context for this work are covenantal communities (kehillot) where a group of people intentionally enter into a mutual obligatory relationship in which they commit to a common mission and give of their time and psychic energy to support the viability of the group and the material and spiritual needs of the members of the group. Hazon is a founding partner of NPSCI, which recently launched a new website, and was featured today in a cover story in the New York Jewish Week: Make Way For ‘Earthodoxy’ – A new effort to support spiritual communities is fueled by those on the communal fringes. The new website includes short essays on how participants are building spiritual community. And starting April 11th, a weekly blog will feature longer essays, which speak to the more conceptual issues informing new paradigm spiritual communities, and aims to generate creative thinking around the ideas that can inform the creation and building of vibrant spiritual communities.
By Nati Passow 11 months ago, I posted a piece on the Jewish Farm School website about how we were choosing to embrace Shmita as an organization. You can read the entire piece here, but the final paragraph sums up the gist. We are using the Shmita year as an opportunity for fewer programmatic commitments, more organizational reflection, and a focus on building a strong local foundation in Philadelphia. It is our hope that in this year of rest and renewal, we are feeding the soil that will, in turn, feed thoughtful, inspired, and sustainable organizational growth for the next Shmita cycle. What played out over the following 11 months has proven to be incredibly significant as we enter into a new phase of organizational growth, in line with the beginning of the next Shmita cycle. Since 2013, we have been making an organizational pivot, turning our focus to our Urban Sustainability Programs in Philadelphia. We saw the Shmita year as an opportunity to complete this shift, and do so in a way that would create a strong foundation for this next phase of our work. We would not look to grow our programs or our budget, and would instead dedicate time […]
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Missing the 2014 Israel Ride?…Wondering what it would be like to join us on the 2015 Israel Ride? Read below for first hand accounts of day by day riding!